FRESH

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano cites information he recived that a Chinese flag mounted on a steel pipe was discovered planted on a sand cay located seven nautical miles northeast off Kota Island. “It was discovered around third week of July 2017. A Chinese vessel allegedly erected the said 3-meter high Chinese flag on a sand cay which is known to be within a Philippine-controlled area:

Alejano told a press conference that the continuous activities of China in the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea are very concerning. “These recently reported incidents only reveal that Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea have not stopped amid warmer relations between the Philippines and China. Furthermore, this contradicts China’s supposed commitment to peace and stability in the area through maintaining the status quo.“

Alejano calls on China, as part of the family of nations, to stay true to its public pronouncements and assurances by matching its actions on the ground.

Alejano hit what he called the “strategy of silence.” even as he disputed claims by the DFA that Alejano’s statements offend China as these are mere assertions of Philipine interests.

Alejano also noted that unlike China, US presence in the disputed waters are just for freedom of navigation and the US does not encroach on any islands.

Alejano also  reiterated his  call for Philippine government officials, in particular the Department of Foreign Affairs, to be transparent on issues regarding the West Philippine Sea. “Their denial or silence and inaction are not helping while things like these happen on the ground. While the Philippines is pursuing bilateral engagements with China, the government has the responsibility to inform the public through providing appropriate and careful information meant for public consumption. The Filipino people are entitled to know to make sure that Philippine national interests are not set aside. Besides being an issue of territorial integrity, it also has immediate security and economic implications which definitely mean something to our fellow Filipinos living in the area. “

For Alejano, there are non-military and non-confrontational options to defend our territories and assert our rights as opposed to the confined and limited view of the President of going to war. “For once, the President should not think of violent and forceful means to solve problems.”